The Boston Red Sox and second baseman Dustin Pedroia have agreed to terms on a seven year $100 million deal which includes a full no trade clause. The information has been reported through numerous news channels and social media outlets. The deal is set to take effect after Pedroia’s last guaranteed year which will take the contract out until 2021. Pedroia will be under contract well into his 30s but comes at a value for the Red Sox. Pedroia is their offensive and defensive future along with the teams heart.
The former Rookie of the Year and league MVP will be making roughly $14.3 million per year throughout the contract but it is a wise investment. Especially considering the value that he has been to date. His current deal, which he signed in 2008, was for six years and $40.5 million. The current deal is a steal considering current contracts awarded to stars. Throughout his time in Boston Pedroia has also won two Gold Glove Awards, a Silver Slugger Award and has been to four All-Star games. With that in mind the value already given to the Red Sox warrants the risk of overpaying at the tail end of the new deal.
Many have considered his health a concern in recent years but if you exclude the unfortunate 2010 season where he played in only 75 games he has been a stable competitor playing in at least 154 games three times and over 139 twice not to mention that he has played in every game this season. When he is on the field he is a asset to the boys from Beantown with a career .303 batting average, scoring over 100 runs three times (led the league in 2008 and 2009) and stealing at least 20 bases in four seasons. Pedroia is also consistently near the top of the league in Wins Above Replacement with a 6.9 WAR in 2008 and 7.9 WAR in 2011. Let’s face it, the man can play and he can play at a thin position in Major League Baseball.
For Boston to get this deal done before New York Yankee second baseman Robinson Cano changes the market with a gargantuan deal was a brilliant move. Pedroia will provide an implied greater value to the Red Sox than Cano will be to the Yankees or any other team that he signs with. The economics are sound for the Red Sox and Pedroia. While Cano is at the top of the second baseman list (we can debate this another time), Pedroia along with younger players Matt Carpenter (27) and Jason Kipnis (26) fill out the stat lines right below Cano with a large drop-off after them . A combination including slim pickings of elite talent and the body of work Pedroia possesses were incentive for the Red Sox to get this deal done.
Boston has spent the last 18 months angling this team towards financial flexibility. They traded away the large contracts of Josh Beckett, Carl Crawford and Adrian Gonzalez. They locked up Clay Buchholz through 2017 (including team options) for a top end value of $57.25 million over six years. The expiration of John Lackey’s contract in 2014 (minus options), David Ortiz’s contract in 2014 (minus option) and Ryan Dempster’s contract in 2014 (minus option) will give the Red Sox options.
This flexibility going forward will allow the Red Sox to focus on resigning key players to long extensions like Pedroia’s. Jon Lester and Jacoby Ellsbury will both be free agents along with upstart Rookie of the Year candidate Jose Iglesias. Keeping all of them on the books resembles the Red Sox version of the Yankee Core 4 except of course Boston is looking to keep their Core 5 (Buchholz, Ellsbury, Lester, Iglesias and Pedroia). The signing of Pedroia makes them 40% complete with that line of thinking.
Will the Red Sox suffer buyer’s remorse in the final years of the Pedroia deal? Anything is possible but it would behoove Boston to remember the value he has been financially to date coupled with the scarcity of talent at his position. Overall, it was a great signing for the Red Sox and should make for a happy Red Sox Nation. Of course, 200 miles to the south in New York there is a collective cringe because their arch rivals have locked a key member of the Red Sox past for the foreseeable future.